Thursday, October 8, 2009

Infection Protection

Why do some people seem to breeze through the cold and flu season without so much as a sniffle while others catch every little virus that comes their way? From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, the body's natural resistance against diseases and its repair ability are due to a flow of protective energy that circulates near the surface the body, which is called defensive energy, or wei qi (pronounced "chee"), and corresponds with the immune system in western medicine. When this healthy energy is abundant and flowing freely, our bodies are able to fight off viruses naturally. It's when the balance of energy is disturbed that we have the potential to succumb to illness. So the old Toaist saying goes, "It's best to dig a well before you are thirsty." In other words, we should work to build our wei qi now to prevent illness in the future. How do we do that? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Diet: Food is medicine, to be sure. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet is your first step toward a flu-free season. Curb your sweet tooth, watch the saturated fats and pile on the vegetables. Adding some garlic, green onion, ginger and cayenne is helpful too. And don't forget to drink plenty of pure, filtered water.

Exercise: It's a must. And it is proven to boost the immune system. Aim for 30-45 minutes five days a week. But you needn't race the treadmill. Gentle exercises, like walking, yoga, tai chi and qi gong will do the trick, and help calm your mind at the same time.

Sleep: You know you need it. Are you getting enough? Seven to nine hours of undisturbed sleep are ideal. Make it a priority to give your body the rest it needs, and it will reward you for your efforts.

Chinese herbs: There are several tonic herbs that have long been used to powerfully and safely regulate the defensive qi. Duanwood reishi, cordyceps and astragalus are three of the best. All are potent immune modulators that strengthen and protect the body and mind.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is energy medicine, and the focus of it is always to balance energy in the body with the intention of preventing and treating illness. It's a great idea to get a "seasonal" acupuncture treatment four times a year at the change of seasons, when our bodies are most prone toward imbalance.

1 comment:

  1. Mary Jane, Thanks for including me on your blog list. I loved everything you had to say here -- thank you for sharing your knowledge and encouraging all of us!- h